I just recently downloaded a game called Starsector and instead of going into the folder every time and running ./starsector.sh, I want to create a desktop entry. Below is my current .desktop file called starsector.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=sh -c "cd /usr/games/starsector && sudo ./starsector.sh"

I have moved this file into ~/.local/share/applications. When copying the Exec line and running it in my shell, it runs the game perfectly fine, but when clicking on the icon it does nothing.

Things I have tried

I have tried to set Terminal=true
Run desktop-file-validate; there are no errors present
Adding exec permissions to the file
Copying file to the desktop and clicking "Allow launching"
Running gio set myapp.desktop metadata::trusted yes

As of now, the file permissions are -rw-rw-r--. I don't know if this is a file permission problem or simply a problem with the game executable itself somehow.


More things I have tried

Setting Exect=sh -c "cd /usr/game/starsector && sh ./starsector.sh
Changed owner and group of starsector.sh from root to my own user Changed owner and group of starsector.desktop from my own user to root:root

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  • I'm not sure, but I think you don't need sudo permission to execute it. Try changing your Exec line to Exec=sh "/usr/games/startsector/starsector.sh" ...
    – raylight
    May 14 at 6:12
  • That doesn't seem to work. When running that command from the command line, I get an error saying ./jre_linux/bin/java: not found. I've noticed that this only seems to happen when I try to directly run the .sh file. It looks like I first need to cd into the directory or it yells at me. May 14 at 6:47
  • 1
    I see, it's a java application... Does it work if you change it to Exec=sh -c "cd /usr/games/starsector && sh starsector.sh? This way it should work without having execution permission... When you execute it with ./starsector.sh you need at least -rwxrw-r-- permissions (which could be done with chmod +x /path/starsector.sh)
    – raylight
    May 14 at 7:02
  • That doesn't seem to work either. See my post again, I added more things I have tried. I kept wondering if it was a permissions problem, but that doesn't seem to be the case either. May 14 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


change mode to execute startsector.sh

sudo chmod +x /usr/games/starsector/starsector.sh

change mode to execute startsector.desktop

sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/starsector.desktop

change EXEC inside desktop file

  • Why would the .desktop file need to be executable? (And why move it from the user's home directory?) The shell script appears to already be executable, or otherwise sudo ./starsector.sh would not work.
    – Kusalananda
    May 14 at 8:28

The solution was extremely simple. All I had to do was add #!/bin/bash at the top of the .desktop file and everything worked perfectly.

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Caleb Collier is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • 1
    At the top of the .desktop file? Why? It's not a bash script.
    – Kusalananda
    May 14 at 20:08
  • Honestly, I'm trying to figure this out myself. When the actual game is run, I am running starsector.sh which is a bash script. The only thing I can guess is that I needed to let it know that I'm going to be executing a shell script with the Exec line. It's very weird, but it works perfectly. 2 days ago

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